Gobi Partners, the most interconnected Pan-Asian venture capital (VC) firm, has invested in Paywatch via Gobi’s Superseed II Fund to meet increasing demand for earned wage access (EWA) in the region.
Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP), one of the backers of the Superseed II Fund, is also working with Paywatch to support its mission of providing fair financial access for all workers in Malaysia. The Superseed II Fund is additionally backed by Allianz Malaysia Berhad and Sunway Group.
Paywatch’s EWA solution helps employees access their earned salary instantly. Serving more than 200,000 employees globally, Paywatch has experienced rapid growth of 40% month-on-month in the past year, processing over RM5 million (US$1.2 million) in monthly wages through its app.
The solution has also improved retention rates for both SMEs and MNCs in Malaysia, with businesses that leverage Paywatch reporting reduced turnover rates up to 75%, saving over RM2.1 million (US$500,000) in annual rehiring fees.
Founded by brothers Richard Kim and Alex Kim, Paywatch aims to provide fair financial access to all employees.
“Our average user may have a bank account, but is denied access to other financial services, and we believe that if you are employed and work hard, you should have equal access to all financial opportunities. Through Paywatch, we help employees gain access to low-cost solutions from our partner banks,” said Alex Kim, co-founder and President at Paywatch.
“We’re proud to have grown from strength to strength – becoming the only bank-backed and regulator approved EWA solution in Asia. Our Malaysian clients now range from large brands, such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Lotus’s, to growing brands such as Kenny Hills Bakers and BilaBila Mart. This funding support will enable us to continue developing new offerings and foster better financial wellbeing for all.”
The investment is the latest addition to Paywatch’s recent Pre-Series A funding round. In total, Paywatch has raised US$9.5 million (over RM40 million) in the oversubscribed round, with participating investors including Vanderbilt University, University of Illinois Foundation, Third Prime and Hana Ventures. All of the investment was in equity and the global round included investors from Malaysia, Singapore, US and South Korea.
“The Gobi Superseed II Fund supports Malaysia’s most promising startups in their field, and Paywatch’s work around financial inclusion for Malaysia’s low-income workforce has been outstanding. They have proved to be clear frontrunners in the EWA industry, with a strong vision and scalable solution.
“We’re pleased to have them join our portfolio of successful startups and are excited to support them as they look to expand not only within Malaysia, but also Southeast Asia,” said Jamaludin Bujang, Gobi Managing Partner (Malaysia).
“MAVCAP’s mandate has always been to develop local VC talents and provide industry changemakers with the support they need to reach their full potential. Paywatch has been leading the charge in the local EWA industry.
“We believe this investment will also spur further growth for the Malaysian economy and look forward to being a partner in their efforts to grow their portfolio of products and accelerate distribution across the country this year,” said Paramjit Singh Gill, MAVCAP Chief Investment Officer.